I am still so excited about Valerian I can barely sleep. A knockout sci-fi pic whose enjoyment exponentially increases with marijuana consumption, Luc Besson’s phantasmagoric space noir is a cinema stoner’s prayer answered—a retro-futuristic graphic novel come to life.
I mean, this is a movie whose full title is literally Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – a subtitle that screams “take drugs before me.” Adorned with a crackerjack plot following two space agents (Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne) who uncover dastardly corruption in a floating Galactic United Nations, the sprawling picture operates on pure breathless gusto, a luminous Star Wars pastiche painted with breath-taking off-world visuals.
You cannot be high enough to watch this movie. As the film opened on half-naked aliens harvesting nuclear pellets from shitting space armadillos, I wondered if my kindly sativa was up to task. Cycling to the cinema as I smoked, Mac Garden’s Mango (16.2% THC, 0.08% CBD) simply made everything seem pleasant. But tucked into a reclining leather seat in a darkened air-conditioned rural movie theater, the fruity Mango hybrid melded seamlessly with the loopy beauty of Valerian‘s universe.
I could have been higher. This is, after all, a movie that features Ethan Hawke prancing around as a cowboy pimp, Delevingne sticking her head in a hallucinogenic jellyfish, Rihanna stripping as a shapeshifting octopus, and jazz great Herbie Hancock somehow playing the president of the universe. Had mushrooms magically appeared in my hand, I would have popped them in my mouth immediately.
But even with the lightweight Mango gently aiding my enjoyment of Besson’s bubbly alien environments and future-tech gadgetry, Valerian remains a prime example of Grade-A drug viewing. Despite a muted ending and a lack of deep human drama, the film is overly satisfying and pleasantly exhausting, like being at a gourmet buffet an hour too long. With the long-lasting Mango still caressing my consciousness, the film’s images swirled in my mind as I passed out, DeHaan’s armored spacemen shooting a platform-creating gun to jump across open air.
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